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Social Worker Who Helps Terminally Ill Children Faces Her Own Medical Crisis

Emily Progin, PR and Communications Coordinator / 800.642.8399

Release: Immediate


“She Brings Hope When All Is Lost…She Needs a Hero”

Mcminnville, Tenn.—Rachel Hillis has devoted to her life to providing hope during the darkest time of a family’s life: the heartbreak of a child diagnosed with a terminal illness. Now, she needs help herself as she faces a devastating liver condition. She is fundraising with the national nonprofit Help Hope Live for the gift of new life through a liver transplant.

Rachel was born and raised in McMinnville. She began working at Warren County Health Department in 1992. Though she studied criminal justice at Middle Tennessee State University, she felt called to the field of social work. “She has been a hero to so many, bringing hope when all seems lost,” explained her daughter, Kristy Martinez. “Rachel now finds herself needing a hero as her liver fails rapidly.”

Rachel was shocked when she was diagnosed with liver failure in September 2019. She was placed on the transplant waiting list in mid-December 2019—doctors believe they will find a match for her within six months. “Right now, she has to have weekly medical appointments and her fluids and sodium intake are restricted,” said Kristy. “The swelling in her body is unbearable at times. She is mostly homebound due to her condition, especially her weakened immune system and fatigue.”

In addition to the physical challenges, Rachel faces a significant financial hurdle. “She cannot afford the costly transplant needed to save her life, even with insurance,” said Kristy. Unable to work, she will incur a massive assortment of out-of-pocket medical costs, including co-pays, medications, medical travel, and temporary relocation when she gets “the call” that a lifesaving organ is available.

To make this gift of life possible, she is fundraising with the nonprofit Help Hope Live at Donations can be made in honor of Rachel Hillis online, by check, or by calling 800.642.8399. Donations are tax deductible to the extent allowed by law, and all funds raised will offset medical expenses via Help Hope Live’s South-Atlantic Transplant Fund. Rachel has raised $770 towards her $5,000 goal so far.

Help Hope Live is a national nonprofit that specializes in engaging communities in fundraising campaigns for people who need a transplant or are affected by a catastrophic injury or illness. Since 1983, campaigns organized by Help Hope Live have raised over $135 million to pay patient expenses.


Written by Emily Progin